God’s Love for Jerusalem

16 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, (A)cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: “Your [a]birth (B)and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; (C)your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your nativity, (D)on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were [b]loathed on the day you were born.

“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ (E)I made you [c]thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.

“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; (F)so I spread [d]My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I (G)swore an oath to you and entered into a (H)covenant with you, and (I)you became Mine,” says the Lord God.

“Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of [e]badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, (J)put bracelets on your wrists, (K)and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a [f]jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. (L)You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly (M)beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 (N)Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.

Jerusalem’s Harlotry

15 (O)“But you trusted in your own beauty, (P)played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it. 16 (Q)You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored [g]high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. 17 You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. 18 You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. 19 Also (R)My food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as [h]sweet incense; and so it was,” says the Lord God.

20 (S)“Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, 21 that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the (T)fire? 22 And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your (U)youth, (V)when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.

23 “Then it was so, after all your wickedness—‘Woe, woe to you!’ says the Lord God 24 that (W)you also built for yourself a shrine, and (X)made a [i]high place for yourself in every street. 25 You built your high places (Y)at the head of every road, and made your beauty to be abhorred. You offered yourself to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry. 26 You also committed harlotry with (Z)the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to (AA)provoke Me to anger.

27 “Behold, therefore, I stretched out My hand against you, diminished your [j]allotment, and gave you up to the will of those who hate you, (AB)the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28 You also played the harlot with the (AC)Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. 29 Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, (AD)Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.

30 “How degenerate is your heart!” says the Lord God, “seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.

Jerusalem’s Adultery

31 (AE)“You erected your shrine at the head of every road, and built your [k]high place in every street. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned (AF)payment. 32 You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband. 33 Men make payment to all harlots, but (AG)you made your payments to all your lovers, and [l]hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry. 34 You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite.”

Jerusalem’s Lovers Will Abuse Her

35 ‘Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! 36 Thus says the Lord God: “Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of (AH)the blood of your children which you gave to them, 37 surely, therefore, (AI)I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38 And I will judge you as (AJ)women who break wedlock or (AK)shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. 39 I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down (AL)your [m]high places. (AM)They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare.

40 (AN)“They shall also bring up an assembly against you, (AO)and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords. 41 They shall (AP)burn your houses with fire, and (AQ)execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will make you (AR)cease playing the harlot, and you shall no longer hire lovers. 42 So (AS)I will lay to rest My fury toward you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. I will be quiet, and be angry no more. 43 Because (AT)you did not remember the days of your youth, but [n]agitated Me with all these things, surely (AU)I will also recompense your [o]deeds on your own head,” says the Lord God. “And you shall not commit lewdness in addition to all your abominations.

More Wicked than Samaria and Sodom

44 “Indeed everyone who quotes proverbs will use this proverb against you: ‘Like mother, like daughter!’ 45 You are your mother’s daughter, [p]loathing husband and children; and you are the (AV)sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children; (AW)your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

46 “Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells with her daughters to the north of you; and (AX)your younger sister, who dwells to the south of you, is Sodom and her daughters. 47 You did not walk in their ways nor act according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, (AY)you became more corrupt than they in all your ways.

48 As I live,” says the Lord God, “neither (AZ)your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, (BA)fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and (BB)committed abomination before Me; therefore (BC)I took them away as [q]I saw fit.

51 “Samaria did not commit (BD)half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and (BE)have justified your sisters by all the abominations which you have done. 52 You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.

53 (BF)“When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back (BG)the captives of your captivity among them, 54 that you may bear your own shame and be disgraced by all that you did when (BH)you comforted them. 55 When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters return to their former state, then you and your daughters will return to your former state. 56 For your sister Sodom was not a byword in your mouth in the days of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered. It was like the time of the (BI)reproach of the daughters of [r]Syria and all those around her, and of (BJ)the daughters of the Philistines, who despise you everywhere. 58 (BK)You have paid for your lewdness and your abominations,” says the Lord. 59 For thus says the Lord God: “I will deal with you as you have done, who (BL)despised (BM)the oath by breaking the covenant.

An Everlasting Covenant

60 “Nevertheless I will (BN)remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish (BO)an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then (BP)you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for (BQ)daughters, (BR)but not because of My covenant with you. 62 (BS)And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may (BT)remember and be ashamed, (BU)and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,” says the Lord God.’ ”


  1. Ezekiel 16:3 origin and your birth
  2. Ezekiel 16:5 abhorred
  3. Ezekiel 16:7 Lit. a myriad
  4. Ezekiel 16:8 Or the corner of My garment
  5. Ezekiel 16:10 Or dolphin or dugong
  6. Ezekiel 16:12 Lit. ring
  7. Ezekiel 16:16 Places for pagan worship
  8. Ezekiel 16:19 Or a sweet aroma
  9. Ezekiel 16:24 Place for pagan worship
  10. Ezekiel 16:27 Allowance of food
  11. Ezekiel 16:31 Place for pagan worship
  12. Ezekiel 16:33 Or bribed
  13. Ezekiel 16:39 Places for pagan worship
  14. Ezekiel 16:43 So with LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT were agitated with Me
  15. Ezekiel 16:43 Lit. way
  16. Ezekiel 16:45 Or despising
  17. Ezekiel 16:50 Vg. you saw; LXX he saw; Tg. as was revealed to Me
  18. Ezekiel 16:57 Heb. Aram; so with MT, LXX, Tg., Vg.; many Heb. mss., Syr. Edom

Jerusalem as an Adulterous Wife

16 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, confront(A) Jerusalem with her detestable practices(B) and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry(C) and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father(D) was an Amorite(E) and your mother a Hittite.(F) On the day you were born(G) your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

“‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a](H) I made you grow(I) like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.(J)

“‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment(K) over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant(L) with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.(M)

“‘I bathed you with water and washed(N) the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered(O) dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen(P) and covered you with costly garments.(Q) 11 I adorned you with jewelry:(R) I put bracelets(S) on your arms and a necklace(T) around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose,(U) earrings(V) on your ears and a beautiful crown(W) on your head.(X) 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes(Y) were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil(Z) and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.(AA) 14 And your fame(AB) spread among the nations on account of your beauty,(AC) because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AD)

15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by(AE) and your beauty became his.(AF) 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places,(AG) where you carried on your prostitution.(AH) You went to him, and he possessed your beauty.[b] 17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.(AI) 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense(AJ) before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you—the flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AK)

20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters(AL) whom you bore to me(AM) and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough?(AN) 21 You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.(AO) 22 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth,(AP) when you were naked and bare,(AQ) kicking about in your blood.(AR)

23 “‘Woe!(AS) Woe to you, declares the Sovereign Lord. In addition to all your other wickedness, 24 you built a mound for yourself and made a lofty shrine(AT) in every public square.(AU) 25 At every street corner(AV) you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by.(AW) 26 You engaged in prostitution(AX) with the Egyptians,(AY) your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger(AZ) with your increasing promiscuity.(BA) 27 So I stretched out my hand(BB) against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over(BC) to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines,(BD) who were shocked by your lewd conduct. 28 You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians(BE) too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied.(BF) 29 Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia,[c](BG) a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied.(BH)

30 “‘I am filled with fury against you,[d] declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!(BI) 31 When you built your mounds at every street corner and made your lofty shrines(BJ) in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment.

32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 All prostitutes receive gifts,(BK) but you give gifts(BL) to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors.(BM) 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.

35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood,(BN) 37 therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip(BO) you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked.(BP) 38 I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood;(BQ) I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger.(BR) 39 Then I will deliver you into the hands(BS) of your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you stark naked.(BT) 40 They will bring a mob against you, who will stone(BU) you and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down(BV) your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women.(BW) I will put a stop(BX) to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. 42 Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.(BY)

43 “‘Because you did not remember(BZ) the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down(CA) on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?(CB)

44 “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs(CC) will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised(CD) her husband(CE) and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.(CF) 46 Your older sister(CG) was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom.(CH) 47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they.(CI) 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign(CJ) Lord, your sister Sodom(CK) and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.(CL)

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom:(CM) She and her daughters were arrogant,(CN) overfed and unconcerned;(CO) they did not help the poor and needy.(CP) 50 They were haughty(CQ) and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.(CR) 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done.(CS) 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous(CT) than you. So then, be ashamed and bear(CU) your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

53 “‘However, I will restore(CV) the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them,(CW) 54 so that you may bear your disgrace(CX) and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. 55 And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before.(CY) 56 You would not even mention your sister Sodom in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered. Even so, you are now scorned(CZ) by the daughters of Edom[e](DA) and all her neighbors and the daughters of the Philistines—all those around you who despise you. 58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the Lord.(DB)

59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant.(DC) 60 Yet I will remember the covenant(DD) I made with you in the days of your youth,(DE) and I will establish an everlasting covenant(DF) with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed(DG) when you receive your sisters, both those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters,(DH) but not on the basis of my covenant with you. 62 So I will establish my covenant(DI) with you, and you will know that I am the Lord.(DJ) 63 Then, when I make atonement(DK) for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed(DL) and never again open your mouth(DM) because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.(DN)’”


  1. Ezekiel 16:6 A few Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts repeat and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”
  2. Ezekiel 16:16 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  3. Ezekiel 16:29 Or Chaldea
  4. Ezekiel 16:30 Or How feverish is your heart,
  5. Ezekiel 16:57 Many Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate Aram